TERRE HAUTE, Ind. – Operating with no margin for error was no problem for the University of Northern Iowa men during the final day of competition Sunday at the Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
A complete effort team propelled the UNI men to their first MVC outdoor track and field championship in nearly a decade. With a team title hanging in the balance on the final event, the Panthers did just enough to fend off Illinois State.
UNI’s 4x400 combination of Corey Hertz, Sven Van den Bergh, Jacob Smith and JoJo Frost crossed the finished line with a second-place time of 3 minutes, 8.81 seconds. While Illinois State won the event, UNI’s runner-up finish produced enough points needed to secure the program’s first men’s MVC outdoor team title since 2009 by a single tally, 170-169.
This outdoor championship is the eighth in UNI men’s program history. Second-year head coach Dave Paulsen earned the league’s Coach of the Year honor, matching the award he received for coaching UNI to a 2016 league cross country title in year two.
It addition to their work in the 4x400-meter relay, Smith and Frost scored major points for the Panthers as they finished 1-2 in the 400 hurdles with times of 50.69 and 50.98, respectively.
Former Cedar Valley prep standouts Matt Turcotte of Cedar Falls and Tayshaun Cooper of Waterloo also played key roles in this team championship effort.
Connor Ham and Isaiah Trousil joined Turcotte and Cooper to produce a winning time of 39.96 in the 4x100 relay. Trousil, Cooper and Turcotte added points in the open 100 and 200.
Isaac Holtz led UNI’s throws crew with a second-place mark of 181 feet, 10 inches in the discus. Teammate Tom Yezek was third and Darius King sixth.
Evan Long and Jordan Pingel each finished third for UNI in the 400 and 800-meter runs, respectively, while Van den Bergh, Corety Hertz and Bryce Newcomb also scored points in the 400.
On day when UNI won a team title by a single tally, Chase Van Sant’s eighth place scoring effort in the triple jump was as crucial as any finish.
In the women’s team race, UNI fell from second to fourth and produced a score of 113.5. Illinois State won with 191.5 points, while Southern Illinois and Indiana State tied for second at 160.
Brette Correy led the Panther women with a second-place time of 2:08.22 in the 800. Teammate Lyndsie Schinkel followed behind in third.
Sarah Pate added a third-place mark of 157-2 in the discus and Tiffany Christensen finished third in the 1,500 with a time of 4:31.01.
TEAM STANDINGS — 1. Northern Iowa 170, 2. Illinois State 169, 3. Indiana State 143, 4. Southern Illinois 143, 5. Drake 74, 6. Bradley 57, 7. Loyola 53, 8. Valparaiso 22, 9. Evansville 4.
TEAM STANDINGS — 1. Illinois State 191.5, 2. Southern Illinois 160, 3. Indiana State 160, 4. UNI 113.5, 5. Missouri State 106, 6. Loyola 41, 7. Drake 23, 8. Bradley 17, 9. Valparaiso 5.